I couldn’t be more prepared. I have, after all, both brushed my teeth and bathed, so tonight is looking pretty sweet.
I am driving to my first speaking engagement, the first one I will do that does not consist of reading from stapled, large-font-ed sheets of paper. The first one where there is no chance of an adult beverage being served, nor books for sale, nor someone I know making a well-intentioned but obscene gesture at me in the hopes of freaking me out whilst I am a’stage.
The drive to the school is interminable – and far too much of it is at 30 miles per hour.
Thirty miles an hour? Did you know there’s a 30 miles per hour now?!
My car is rolling its eyes at me, I can tell.
Thirty. I am in agony. What a ridiculously difficult rate of speed to maintain. I’ve got a woman walking a dog about to pass me – on the right, thank you very much – a guy on foot trying to hand me a pamphlet about “the power of positivity”, and a man on a bike coming over a hill growing larger and larger in my rear-view mirror.
I am only marginally exaggerating.
Maybe I’m nervous.
And then I belch.
And I go pale.
It had been so long that I’d forgotten…
Look. Plenty of people have nervous habits. Am I right? I mean, what I do is not uncommon. It’s not, as my friend Mary would say, a heinous habit.
But it appears it’s a habit nonetheless.
I swallow air when I’m nervous.
Panicking, I look at the clock on the dashboard. Roughly half an hour until I speak – when did I start noticing that I was nervous? Noon? Was that why I didn’t finish my sandwich?
Holy Hannah, have I been swallowing air since noon?
I belch nervously as I spot the sign that points me to the parking lot I’ll want.
I belch as I find a spot.
I belch again as I grab my purse, my handouts.
And I belch yet again as I walk through the front doors.
Hi, I practice as I move through the double doors, my name is Pearl– urp – and I write the blog Pearl, Why You Little…